This is a Green-barred Woodpecker, common and widespread throughout South America to the south of the Amazon River and to the east of the Andes. In the southern part of their range, they sport a golden yellow on breast and belly. This form is thought to be a different species and the name Golden-bellied Woodpecker has been adopted by some. The male wears the red malar with the female preferring the slimming qualities of black.

Green-barred Woodpeckers

The individuals in this gallery were found at Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It struck me that they looked very similar in structure to a Flicker. When I came across a pair on the ground feeding from an ants’ nest, I was prompted to look more closely.

On checking the latin name, Colaptes melanochloris, it became clear that the relationship was obviously already recognised by the taxonomists.

The accepted popular name may be woodpecker, but like so many birds, it has a few pet names used by those who are familiar with the species. The title Green-barred Flicker seems like a reasonable compromise, though the green bars are not an arresting feature.

Considering its preferred habitat, there was a proposal that they be included in a family known as “forest flickers” using the generic Chrysoptilus.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.